I was captivated by the idea of Bekah Jane Pogue’s new book Choosing Real. How do you respond to life–and to God–when life doesn’t go as planned? When schedules become overfull? When suffering and difficulty press in? I had the lovely opportunity to read Choosing Real when the BlogAbout Blogger Network provided a copy for me to review–as well as a copy to give away to one reader!
So what is Choosing Real?
Subtitled “An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned,” Bekah Jane Pogue’s wonderful book addressed the questions that every woman has to face sooner or later. We all have that image of the picture-perfect life; you know, the one we’re striving for. The one that our list-making ought to be achieving (if we just get everything checked off and accomplished). That our Pinterest boards should be illustrating.
But, life doesn’t work that way. Although it feels as though it should at times. Life intrudes with messiness; with suffering; with unexpected pit stops and sharp turns that we weren’t planning for (and, by the way, that weren’t even included on our to-do lists).
So what exactly do we do when we’re exhausted, or sidelined by illness or tribulation, or simply struggling with the fact that life doesn’t look like we thought it would at this point? When we’ve served and volunteered and run ourselves ragged but we’re not satisfied and we’re not at rest? And where exactly is God, what does He expect of me anyway, and how much more can I possibly do to meet His expectations?
Except maybe they’re not His expectations for me at all.
There came a day, after Bekah’s dad passed away unexpectedly, that she sat on a bench and told God she was done. She had nothing left to give, no ability left to serve; no more smiles; she was empty.
And she discovered that He was okay with that. In fact, maybe even happy with it. Bekah had lived as though she was the pursuer of God; that she was the one responsible for everything; that the faith life was all up to her. And the idea of God enjoying her, just as she was?
Until she came to the end of herself, I don’t know that she would have imagined that. And yet that was what she found at that point. The invitation comes from God, not from us.
Bekah said that this–that realizing that she could be completely REAL with God–actually saved her life. (I can relate to that!)
So how do we live, being real with God?
Bekah shares about her experiences–that can also be our own. Sometimes it’s an outlook we can pursue. Sometimes it’s questions we can ask. Sometimes it is just stopping and taking another look at the way we’re used to behaving or acting. Here’s a list of some of the ways Bekah, and we, can inject realness into our lives:
- Saying “yes” to God’s invitations
- Learning how to really experience rest
- Finding God in the middle of the loss
- Understanding our identities in the messes and transitions of life
- Knowing we are “seen”
- And more
What Choosing Real is meaning to me
Have you ever read a book and thought, “Eureka! Exactly!”
This is a book that so resonated with me. I don’t know Bekah in person, only from reading her book. But so much of what she describes was not just something I recognized, it was experiences I’d lived. And I’d guess I’m not the only one! I’ve definitely been a woman who took the entire responsibility of my relationship with God on myself; as if He weren’t going to be doing any approaching and it was all up to me.
And not really even logical. If my husband doesn’t just sit on the couch all day, ignoring me and our son and waiting for me to approach him and for him maybe to talk to me (which he DOESN’T–he is awesome!), why would I think that God is just sitting up in heaven waiting for me to do all the work in our relationship?
That’s not even a relationship. But it wasn’t until I saw Bekah describing her own experiences that I could see the pieces missing from my own perspective.
So no spoilers, but…
here are some of the most meaningful things I’ve read in Choosing Real.
- Learning to seek His presence when I’m feeling loss
- Separating my identity from my roles or my emotions
- Asking if I am sacrificing “my sanity or my family” to make things happen
- Choosing to engage all my senses when I am in a place of “overwhelm”
There’s so much more. But I want you to be able to experience it during your own read!
Would I recommend this book to you?
Yes. I love Bekah’s friendly manner of writing. It really does feel that she’s writing to you personally–who happens to be her very good friend. So the book is a pleasure to read.
But even more important, the themes she shares and the perspectives she offers are words of wisdom that I believe we as women desperately need to hear. We all have questions about our value, our identities, and how we’re “supposed” to interact with God–and what He wants of us. The way we answer those questions is often shaped by our own experiences (both painful as well as positive) rather than by God’s own truth and His own value of us.
Choosing Real reminded me often of a beloved childhood book, The Velveteen Rabbit, which emphasizes the importance of being Real; Real with a capital R. It turns out that we don’t have to be well-worn and threadbare to be Real. Rather, we can engage in Realness in the relationship that defines us the most clearly, which will affect not only our perspectives of ourselves, but also our relationships, and the work of our lives.
And it can set us out on the road we long to be on; the place of Rest with a capital R with the God who loves us.
And you can enter to win your own copy!
Just click on the pink Enter Here link below, which will take you to the Giveaway Tools page with the entry form. Giveaway ends March 19, 2017 at 11:59 PM.
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